Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.

 

What Next?

“As I transition into the next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.” With those words, issued through her lawyer on yesterday’s “Today” show, the former Bradley Manning began a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth. Tactically speaking, I’m not sure I would have made that particular announcement as I was entering a federal penitentiary, but this is a person who apparently believes that we need to know everything. I write this, not to belittle Chelsea Manning, but to wrestle with a case that is at once heartrending and bizarre. I believe: (1) Manning launched an important discussion about our government’s actions and secrecy by disclosing a lot of information we have the right – and the need – to know; (2) the length of the sentence is unjust; and (3) Manning has every right to assert her own identity. None of this makes me especially comfortable with an army private, struggling with huge personal issues, deciding unilaterally what government secrets to release to the world. Clearly, our government operates in far too much secrecy. I’m not sure I trust Manning’s judgment on where to draw the line. In other news, Anthony Weiner went one up on former Australian legislator (and chair of the Parliamentary Ethics Committee) Peter Dowling, who had acknowledged texting his mistress a photo of his, um, wiener in a glass of merlot. Weiner admitted in Wednesday’s New York mayoral debate that he had texted while driving.

Early Morning, Low Tide

And All That Jaz